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Rocky Top is Back for PHS Football

August 1, 2014

Rocky Top08/04/14 The “Rocky Top Tennessee” song will be returning to Friday night Plymouth High School football games in the fall. PCSC Superintendent, Daniel Tyree, issued a statement on August 1 that the school corporation has reversed the decision to halt the use of the song.
In December 2013, following complaints that the song makes reference to “moonshine” in the lyrics, Tyree made a public statement saying, “That song is not something that should be played at a high school event. It is not the image we want to portray.”
But on Friday, Tyree said, “The “Rocky Top Tennessee” song is not our Plymouth High School fight song, nor will it ever be. However, the “Rocky Top Tennessee” song has become a part of our PHS football program’s culture and the elimination of the song from our program’s culture we feel just isn’t right.”
Tyree indicated that the decision to ban the song that had been played for some 20 years was made after what he termed “a handful of community members and parents” expressed concern about the lyrics and the meaning behind the song. Moonshine is a type of whiskey that historically has been produced illegally. Tyree said in 2013 that he performed an internet search and that the lyrics did indeed include the wording that talks about living the good life and drinking moonshine.
The nickname for the team is “Rockies” and they play on a field called the “Rockpile”; so the Osborne Brothers 1967 recording of the song “Rocky Top” seemed to be a natural tie in.
However, the song will not be broadcasted with lyrics over the PA (public address) system as in years past. The Plymouth High School band will be allowed to play the instrumental version of the song for this football season and in the future, according to Tyree.
Tyree said, “The specifics of when the song will be played are still being worked out by Mr. (James) Condon, Coach (John) Barron, and Mr. (Bryan) Ames. Condon is PHS principal and Ames is the band director.
Tyree said, “We all agree the Friday night focus on the field at the Rockpile can now return to developing outstanding young men and winning some games. Rockie football has always had a strong history in our community and Coach Barron promises to continue this legacy.”
At the time when the song was banned in late 2013, several students took steps to share their viewpoint. Condon commended the actions of students who shared their concerns saying, “The kids most directly involved in the process, handled it very well.“ Condon said there were students who shared their concerns with the Student Government at the school; the Student Government conferred with him as principal on the matter; and then met with administrators at the Central Office. He said, “They cooperated throughout the resolution. They truly represented their peers.”
Condon said they know there are differing opinions about the song itself and what it promotes. However, he added, “There are some that associate the song with celebration of our football team.” The song was played whenever the team made a touchdown. He said, “Both sides accepted the fact that its (Rocky Top Tennessee song) a part of our Friday night culture.”
Condon said he plans to meet with the school’s athletic director, football coach and band director to decide the frequency of the playing of the song to celebrate success. He said they will play the school’s song as well.
Carol Anders Correspondent